Revolutionizing how in-home care is provided, HAPPIE Home provides caregivers 24/7 peace of mind via mobile device
LAS VEGAS – Approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the previous 12 months, according to a 2015 report, “Caregiving in the U.S. 2015,” conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute. As a result of circumstances, many of those caregivers see there is no other option than to place their elderly family members into assisted living facilities.
Those seeking alternatives to putting their family members into such facilities have a new option and can take part in a breakthrough pilot program by HAPPIE Home. HAPPIE (Helping All People Promote Independence Every day) Home is the creator of HAPPIE, an innovative, in-home digital companion that pairs with a caregiver’s smart phone.
“No one signs up to be a caregiver,” said Anthony Rufo, president of HAPPIE Home and Las Vegas resident. “Being a caregiver is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting as well as time-consuming and stressful. Our hope with the HAPPIE system is to ease a lot of those things for caregivers, which will allow them to regain some of their strength and energy and, ultimately, be the caregivers they really want to be.”
Rufo knows first-hand how the stress of caring for an aging parent can take its toll on a family. In 2014, his sisters became caregivers for their aging mother on Long Island. Sometimes Rufo’s mother would not answer her daughters’ calls, worrying them to the point of dropping everything to drive over (an hour each way) to check on her. The situation was exhausting for Rufo’s sisters. It also became Rufo’s inspiration for HAPPIE.
Drawing on his experience as a caregiver and marketing/sales professional, Rufo partnered with longtime friend Will McMaster, Ph.D., who has 25 years of experience in technology and cybersecurity and is credited with multiple patents and U.S. government technologies. Together, the duo invented HAPPIE Home to keep loved ones in their own homes longer, enjoying their independence, while providing 24/7 peace of mind to caregivers, regardless of the distance.
After three years and countless hours of ideation, invention, testing, re-working, patent applications and much more, HAPPIE Home’s pilot program will begin in Southern Nevada in October.
While Rufo’s mother is no longer with us, all of her ideas and feedback created the foundation for HAPPIE. The innovative program’s technology comes in two parts:
- The caregiver portal acts as a digital assistant to someone who is caring for a loved one. HAPPIE communicates with the caregiver via messages and alerts sent right to their smart phone, tablet or computer.
- HAPPIE’s main components are installed in the home of the person being cared for, allowing HAPPIE to serve as a companion. HAPPIE learns their daily patterns. The loved one speaks to HAPPIE in a natural voice from anywhere in the home. They are not required to learn any new technology to use the system. Powered by proprietary voice recognition technology, HAPPIE responds verbally and displays answers on the home TV screen. Like Amazon Dot and Echo, HAPPIE’s long-range microphones and remote speakers can cover an entire home or residence.
During the pilot program, HAPPIE Home will install HAPPIE TV units in the homes of 250 selected participants in Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas to gain valuable customer feedback on the features and functionality of the HAPPIE system. Participants may have up to five caregivers who will pilot the caregiver smart phone portal.
Pilot participants will receive:
- Professional installation of the HAPPIE TV in-home system
- Smart video camera(s), which allows caregivers to visually check on their loved one from their smart phone
- Remote hallway sentry pack
- Door sensors
- Caregiver portal – Apple IOS- and Android-compatible
- Secure, dedicated cellular network connection
- Device insurance coverage
In exchange for weekly feedback, pilot participants will receive exclusive pricing that will not be available to the general public.
The four-week pilot program is at no cost and also includes a professional installation at no cost (a $995 value). Additionally, a $1,000 security deposit is required; it will be refunded — regardless of duration of use — when the HAPPIE equipment is returned.
Pilot participants who wish to continue using the HAPPIE system will receive a 50 percent discount on the ongoing service cost: $499 per month (instead of the usual $995). A Wi-Fi hot spot service is included in the monthly fee, as is device replacement. Anyone who decides to discontinue the use of HAPPIE can rest assured knowing all of their information will be completely wiped from the system upon return.
Those interested in taking part in the pilot program can visit happiehome.com and click on the “Pilot Program” tab.
“Our goal is to make Nevada No. 1 in the country for elder care,” Rufo said. “We believe that revolutionizing how in-home care is provided is an excellent first step.”
Initially HAPPIE Home was designed for Alzheimer’s patients, but it quickly became apparent there was a greater need for all elderly – as well as adults with special needs – to stay in their homes longer.